Labour Studies Index

Updated: 2022-05-16

Sexual Orientation and Labor Economics

Document type Article
Author Brown, Cara L.
Journal Feminist Economics
Volume 4
Date 1998 01
ISSN 1354-5701, 1466-4372
Pages 89-95


In attempting to ascertain various impacts on labor market outcomes using categories such as gender, race, ethnicity, and physical ability, a void exists with respect to sexual orientation. Whereas heterosexism and homophobia can explain some of the reasons for the void, the inability to collect data randomly about homosexuals' experiences in the labor market nullifies the basic tenet of all scientific research-random samples. A unique approach is presented which looks at income data for nonrelatives of the same sex, ages 45 to 64, living together in Canada, as a first attempt at comparing same-sex and opposite-sex genders, and is used to demonstrate the contribution of recognizing sexual orientation to economic questions. Other examples based on well-known debates about female labor participation and gender wage gaps are presented to evaluate the usefulness of studying economics recognizing sexual orientation. The need for such study is acknowledged as a measure of the inclusiveness of the economics discipline.